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AGRONOMY DEPARTMENT Field Crops 47.4 & 47.

1575 Linden Drive University of Wisconsin-Madison 53706

608-262-1391/2 January 1986

Soybean Seed Quality and Certified Seed


Prepared by Edward S. Oplinger Extension Agronomist, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Eugene Amberson Manager, Wisconsin Crop Improvement Association

Introduction
Seed represents a small portion of soybean production costs, but good seed is essential for a successful crop. High quality seed Is pure In variety, high In germination, free of seedborne disease organisms, free of cracks and other mechanical damage, and free of other crop and weed seeds. State law requires that all seed sold be correctly labeled. Labels must show germination percentage, percent of weed seeds, percentage of other crop seeds, and total purity. Certified seed assures varietal purity. Wisconsin Certified Seed must meet the highest quality and purity standards In the Industry to carry the "Blue Tag" label. Frequently, soybean producers are faced with the decision to buy Certified seed or to use soybeans from the bin for planting purposes. Some growers take extra precautions In planting, maintaining, harvesting, and processing their grain In order to have good quality seed for planting purposes. However, the majority are more concerned and are better at grain production rather than seed production. Production of good quality seed 1s the business of seed producers!

Wisconsin Soybean Seed Box Survey Results


The Wisconsin Crop Improvement Association conducted a Soybean Seed Box Survey in 1985. They collected 102 seed samples from 14 counties in the state. Samples were taken from planting equipment seed boxes or from the original seed containers by WCIA seed Inspectors. Seed samples were then classified as either: 1. Certified 2. Uncertified (Seed was cleaned, packages, labeled, and retail marketed but not Certified 3. Bin Run (Seed either cleaned or uncleaned but not labeled. This seed is normally grown and stored on farm locations.) As noted in Table1, there is considerable difference in the percentage of samples in each group meeting minimum seed standards. Table 1. Samples Meeting Minimum Seed Standards in the 1985 Wisconsin Soybean Seed Box Survey Classification # of Total Samples # Meeting Minimum Standards* Certified 24 23 (96%) Uncertified 34 23 (68%) Bin Run 44 13 (30%) * Germination 85% or greater Varietal Mixtures 0.5 or less Weed Seed 1 seed or less/lb Other Crops 1 seed or less/lb Inert Matter 2% or less

2004 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, doing business as the Division of Cooperative Extension of the University of Wisconsin-Extension.

Soybean and Small Grains

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The seed quality problems found in these seed samples are described in Table 2, and illustrates the superior standards of Certified seed. Table 2. Seed Quality Problems found in 1985 Wisconsin Seed Box Survey # Samples Not Meeting Min. Standards # Samples Labeled as Variety Not Classification #Samples Var. Pur. Inert Weeds* Crops** Germ. Stated or Variety Unknown Certified 24 0 0 0 0 1 0 Uncertified 34 10 0 0 0 1 2 Bin Run 44 23 7 3 8 6 9 * Giant ragweed, smartweed, lambsquarter, wild buckwheat, common ragweed ** Barley, oat, wheat The extreme variation of soybean seed sometimes planted in illustrated in Table 3. Table 3. Variation in Soybean Seed Quality Found in Samples Collected in the 1985 Wisconsin Soybean Box Survey Quality Factor Best Sample Poorest Sample Purity 99.99% 9.28% Inert Matter .01% 17.53% Weed Seeds/lb. 0 470 Other Kinds/lb. 0 31 Other Varieties 0% 85.6% Germination 98% 37% Wisconsin Soybean Yield Contest Results Results of twelve years (1974-85) results from the Wisconsin Soybean Yield Contest serve to document that top soybean growers use Certified seed for producing high yields as Indicated In Table 4. With a total of 506 entries the yield of those using Certified seed was 52.3 vs. uncertified seed 50.1 for a 2.2 bu/acre advantage. Table 4. Performance of Soybeans Planted with Certified vs. Non-certified Seed in the Wisconsin Soybean Yield Contest 1974-85. Seed Source Certified Number of entrants Average Yield (bu/a) No. of winning entried 243 52.3 8 Non-certified 263 50.1 4

Other Comparisons of Certified vs. Non-certified seed Several other states and private seed companies have compared not only quality but also the performance of soybeans planted using Certified vs. non-certified. Table 5 summarizes these data.

2004 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, doing business as the Division of Cooperative Extension of the University of Wisconsin-Extension.

Soybean and Small Grains

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Table 5. Summary of Soybean Performance Using Certified vs. Non-certified or Bin-run Seed State or Company Years Yield Advantage (bu/a) Certified vs. Non-certified Wisconsin 12 2.2 Illinois 17 2.8 Ohio 6 1.9 Georgia 1 5.9 Northrup King 2 2.6 Asgrwo 6 2.4 Average 3.0 bu/a

Economics of Quality Seed With the pressure to keep production Input costs down, growers are often tempted to plant bin-run seed rather than spend the money on top quality Certified seed. Admittedly the cash flow advantage in the spring may favor planting bin-run seed. However, growers need to consider all the costs and the final yield advantages as Illustrated in Table 6.

Table 6. Economics of Planting Certified vs. Non-Certified or Bin Run Seed Bin-run Cost/bu. Seed $5.00 Cleaning .75 Cleanout loss .50 Transportation .25 Interest .90* Labor .50 Germination testing .10 Total $8.00 Seed Costs/a (90#/a) $12.00 Difference Returns/a Yield difference Difference *1 %/mo. X 12 mo. **1 %/mo. X 6 mo. -------

Certified $10.00 ------.90** ----$10.90 $16.35 +$4.35 +3 bu. +$15.00/a +10.65/a

Growers are encouraged to use the figures in Table 6 as guidelines in figuring their actual costs. This Information is presented to inform soybean growers of the advantages of planting high-quality Certified seed. The information should also be of value to ag lenders in comparing the Initial costs of buying Certified seed with the end of the season profit potential.

2004 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, doing business as the Division of Cooperative Extension of the University of Wisconsin-Extension.